Early records of William Teacher state he was working in a cotton mill in Glasgow as young as 7 years old; however it was later through marriage that he got his break. He married the daughter of a grocer and persuaded his father in law to apply for a licence to sell alcohol. This was successful with several public houses following the successful shop. Within 20 years William Teacher was the largest license holder in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. He was joined by his sons William and Adam and had started blending whisky for customers; one of these blended whiskies was particularly popular. Teacher’s whisky was registered in 1884 and sales grew steadily in later part of the 19th century. This resulted in Teacher’s opening Ardmore Distillery to secure a supply of single malt whisky for their Teachers blended scotch whisky. Later in the 20th century Teacher’s also acquired Glendronach distillery.
Sales pushed further on when Teacher’s started exporting to the US in the early part of the 20th century, however this was interrupted by World War 1 when Teacher’s were rationing their whisky to customers just one bottle every 2 weeks (not bad eh!). At the end of US prohibition Teachers loaded up the steamer Scythia with whisky to provide the Americans with something a bit easier on the palate after drinking illegal moonshine for a while.
The family held onto to Teacher’s under by the name William Teacher & Sons until 1976 when they became part of Allied Distillers later Allied Domecq who were subsequently later taken over themselves by Pernod-Ricard. By this time Teacher’s had moved itself into the top five selling whiskies in the UK and built a big market in Scandinavia and the US. It also had its own bottling plant in Glasgow and offices in St Enoch Square which remained until 1991. The success of Teacher’s has been put down to Ardmore single malt one of the main ingredients, however with grain whisky and 30 other single malts in the mix it is difficult to quantify.